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Photo: Derek Fannin  A & D Wejchert & Partners Architects

Walkway through The Helix Roof during construction

CAD model of the Helix Roof and Acoustic Reflector

The Helix Roof during construction
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The Helix, Dublin City University, Ireland


The main auditorium to Dublin City University’s new arts extension, “The Helix”, can seat up to 1260 people for a wide range of events from ballet, music and orchestral performances through to exhibitions, conferences and award ceremonies. Designed to be television as well as audience friendly, the auditorium features state of the art audio and visual facilities, and has a clear line of sight to the stage from every seat.

The roof structure and suspended acoustic canopy to the huge concert hall was provided by MERO, designed to support the concrete roof cladding to be subsequently installed by others. The structure needed to be able to both support the full lighting, audio and televisual equipment requirements, and provide easy access to this equipment through the integration of a full walkway complex within the roof.

Within the 2.2m depth of the spaceframe structure, a network of access walkways were designed to enable safe and easy access to the roof for the lighting and sound technicians. With the walkways removing essential cross bracing from the structure, a partially welded top chord was incorporated at key locations to improve structural performance.

Suspended beneath the main 26 x 43m roof is an acoustic canopy of spaceframe construction, shaped to suit the curved profile of the acoustic reflectors that are mounted to the canopy’s underside. Lighting and sound equipment can be mounted to a support beam on the canopy above each joint between reflectors, with access to the canopy and beams via a fall arrest system and cat ladders from the walkway above to landing platforms on the canopy.

[Download this project as a PDF document] 

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Project Title:
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Aula Maxima, Dublin City University, Ireland
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_ Scope of Works: 43.5 x 26m (945m on plan) spaceframe roof structure with 14 x 12.5m spaceframe acoustic canopy structure cable suspended beneath main roof with integral access walkways within the spaceframe structure.
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_ Cladding Details:

None - Structure Only
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_ Steelwork Details: Main Roof: MERO NK / KK Hybrid Spaceframe comprising 140x80RHS & 160x160SHS top chord, 114dia bottom chord and 88.9dia diagonal and vertical chord spaceframe tubes
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_ Year of Completion: 2002
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_ Client: Dublin City University
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_ Architect: A+D Wejchert
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_ Main Contractor: Christopher Bennett & Son (Construction) Ltd
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